India's Reliance raises $22.43 billion from stake sales

Reuters | Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Reliance Industries Ltd, controlled by Asia's richest man Mukesh Ambani, has raised 1.65 trillion rupees ($22.43 billion) over the past few months through stake sales at its digital unit Jio Platforms and its retail arm Reliance Retail Ventures.

On Wednesday the company announced a $755.1 million investment from KKR & Co Inc in its retail arm, giving it a pre-money valuation of 4.21 trillion rupees ($57.28 billion)

Earlier in September, Reliance raised $1.02 billion from Silver Lake Partners for its retail arm.

The latest investments at Reliance Retail come after the conglomerate raised 1.52 trillion rupees ($20.66 billion) at its digital unit by selling stakes to 13 global investors.

Investors in Jio include Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KKR & Co, Mubadala, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, TPG, L. Catterton, Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, Qualcomm, Intel Corp and Alphabet Inc's Google.

Reliance has sold nearly 33 per cent in Jio through the stake sales, including a $4.5 billion investment by Google, giving the unit an equity valuation of $59.32 billion.

The stake sales at Jio also helped the conglomerate become net-debt free in June.

Reliance’s shares have risen 173 per cent in the last three years, as of Tuesday’s close. The company’s current market capitalisation is at $194.78 billion.

The conglomerate's telecom unit had 392.7 million subscribers as of May since its launch in late 2016, mainly at the expense of Vodafone Idea. Vodafone Idea lost a fifth of its wireless customers last year and had 309.9 million subscribers as of May.

Reliance’s oil and gas, refining and petrochemical businesses once underpinned its growth, but they have taken a sharp hit as oil prices collapsed. In July, the company reported a nearly 44 per cent fall in quarterly revenue as the Civud-19 pandemic destroyed demand for refined oil products.

In addition to operating the world’s biggest refining complex, Reliance also operates supermarkets and TV channels.